Highway open by Dec. 15?


News staff writer

November 22, 2006

Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort will open about one month behind schedule — but Dave Riley, president of the company, is pleased to have the target date of Dec. 15 to plan around.

“We are optimistic and certainly we will be able to have a great ski season — it’s just going to be delayed,” said Riley.

He said the snow base at Meadows was ready to go by late last week. So, it was hard to have the resort inaccessible to the public due to the closure of Highway 35 just south of Baseline Drive and the northern section of Highway 26.

“It’s been a real challenge and losing a month of recreation is definitely going to hurt the company, the employees, the (Hood River) community and our guests,” said Riley.

He is keeping skiers updated about the repair work on Dave’s Blog, which can be accessed through a link on Meadows Web site, www.skihood.com.

“I’m very pleased with the progress that ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation) and Tri-State Construction is making. And it has been very helpful for ODOT to give us a date to work with,” said Riley.

He has 1,000 employees, most from Hood River County, waiting to take their stations at the resort. Last year, Meadows had 500,000 visitors so Riley expects that a lot of recreationists are also anxious for the highway fix to be completed.

“We’re still pushing and hoping for the work to be done by Dec. 15 — or perhaps even sooner,” said Riley.

Barring bad weather or other unforeseen conditions, ODOT has estimated that both the south and north highway accesses to Meadows can reopen by mid-December.

Tri State has been hired to help with the rebuilding of sections of highway that have been washed out, undercut and/or buried by huge boulders — some larger than pickup trucks — and mud. About one million cubic yards of glacial sentiment washed down the mountainside during heavy rains on Nov. 7 and found its way into area waterways.

The most major destruction brought by the massive mudflow occurred at the White River Bridge. The river dug a new channel through the pavement to the north of the structure and the old riverbed was completely filled with sediment. The underspan of the bridge was blocked by woody debris, rocks and mud, which also buried the top of the passage by five or six feet.

ODOT has now installed large culvert pipes in the new White River channel and will rebuild the road on top of these cylinders. About 20,000 dump truck loads of newly deposited material will be transported from the White River to the Clark and Newton Creek repair sites.

According to an ODOT report, dump trucks are expected to be coming and going around the clock to accomplish this work as quickly as possible. Once the White River bridge work is completed and repairs made to deeply gouged ditches along Highway 35 near Clark and Newton creeks, the road will reopen in both directions.

ODOT does not expect the cleanup underneath the White River Bridge — the top has already been cleared — to interfere with travel along the highway above.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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